The Methodist Church has a long history of sending missionaries to places all over the world. The first ministers (known in those days as ‘travelling preachers’) were appointed by the Conference to serve the American colonies in 1769, and in 1786 the first missionaries to the Caribbean – Thomas Coke and three companions – made landfall in Antigua on Christmas Day 1786.

The Rev. William Lovelace is a United Methodist missionary currently serving as district superintendent and pastor in Lithuania. He formerly held a similar position in Kiev, Ukraine.

Lithuania (along with neighboring Latvia) is one of the recent mission initiatives of Global Ministries. Methodism was reestablished in both countries following the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Lithuania, part of the Northern European Central Conference, currently has 11 United Methodist congregations and an increasing number of preaching points. Diaconal (justice and service) ministries and outreach to children are integral parts of of the work.

Bill has served in the former Soviet Union since 1992, first as pastor in St. Petersburg, Russia. Between 1996 and 2011, he served as superintendent and / or pastor in Southern Russia, Ukraine, and Caucuses districts of the Russia United Methodist Church.

Bill entered ministry after spending almost eight years in computer science. He worked as a volunteer with Cambodian refugees in San Diego, CA; a summer intern at First Church, Carrollton; a summer chaplain at the Veterans Hospital of Lexington, KY; and a tutor in English for Japanese professionals.

Bill is married to Rev. Helen Byholt Lovelace, also a missionary

Katie Meek is serving as coordinator of congregational development and education for the The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She was commissioned in October 2017.

The church in Sierra Leone is engaged in an intensive program of lay and clergy leadership development. Primary areas of concentration include worship, sacramental theology and practice, and organizational development—topics about which Katie has handson experience. She is located in Freetown.

Katie is an ordained elder in the Central Texas Annual Conference. She was most recently appointed as the associate pastor for worship, outreach, and witness at the FUMC of Round Rock. She was previously pastor of Bethel UMC, director of the Wesley Foundation at Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX; and director of communications for the Weatherford District.

Katie’s call to mission was enriched and influenced by years of participation in mission trips in the United States and abroad, including eight weeks in Mexico. She is strongly motivated in mission by Jesus’ concern for the poor and his global mindset, seen in the sending of disciples into all the world. She counts herself among those who are “called to go.”